Peterson: Michigan State could determine when Nebraska introduces Fred Hoiberg

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Ames icon Fred Hoiberg talks about how he’s staying busy during his free time
Randy Peterson, rpeterson@dmreg.com

What’s the holdup, you’re wondering, with Nebraska formally introducing Fred Hoiberg? Tim Miles was canned, as expected, Tuesday. Common belief is that Hoiberg’s been the next guy for at least a week, and possibly longer.

So, when’s the “Hey, Nebraska, Meet Fred Hoiberg” press conference?

Michigan State might hold the clue to that one.

Early next week, expect the Ames and Iowa State icon to stand on a podium in Lincoln, talking about how cool and sentimental (and he’ll mean that) it is to return to his place of birth and coach at a place where his grandfather coached. How early in the week might depend a lot on what happens this weekend in Washington, D.C.

That’s where Michigan State faces LSU in the NCAA Sweet 16 — and Hoiberg’s son, Jack, you know, plays for Michigan State. If the Spartans are alive through the weekend, then maybe Tuesday or Wednesday is the day Hoiberg is introduced. If the Spartans lose Friday, then maybe it happens earlier.

That’s supposition, of course, but I know this: It’s a big deal for Fred and Carol’s son to be on an NCAA Tournament team. It’s a big deal for the family to watch as many of Jack’s games as they can.

And anyhow, what’s a few more days to officialize the Hoiberg’s a Husker hiring that’s been the nation’s worst-kept secret for a long time?

So if all this Hoiberg stuff intrigues you — keep an eye this weekend on Tom Izzo’s Spartans.

Don’t miss a move.Follow @DMRCyclones on Twitter for the latest.

And speaking of the NCAA Tournament — a friend in Omaha who knows Nebraska basketball as well as anyone told me last week that all Hoiberg has to do to be a rousing success in the eyes of Big Red fans is win an NCAA Tournament game.

Just one game in the Big Dance.

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Nebraska’s NCAA Tournament record is zip and seven. Zero NCAA Tournament wins — and losses against Western Kentucky, Xavier, UConn, New Mexico State, Penn, Arkansas and Baylor. The Cornhuskers are the only power conference school without an NCAA Tournament win. It’s beyond comprehension, yet true.

Fred will take care of that, if given the recruiting rope he had at Iowa State — and you know what that means.

Free agency.

Hoiberg brought that into the national spotlight when he supplemented successful Iowa State rosters with transfers like Chris Babb and Chris Allen, Will Clyburn and Korie Lucious, Abdel Nader and Jameel McKay, as well as DeAndre Kane, Bryce DeJean Jones and Deonte Burton.

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Not only could they ball, but they had few, if any, serious off-court problems while at Iowa State. If they had transgressions at their previous places, they kept them there.

Fred had the power. He’d already been in the NBA as a player and as a respected executive. During his introductory press conference as the Cyclones’ coach, he even mentioned he had every NBA general manager on speed dial.

So, when he recruited transfers, he dangled like a carrot all the important connections aspiring pros would need. Play like he suggested they play. Don’t cause trouble. Be respectful to teammates and in the community.

If they’re good enough to get to professional ball, by golly he’d get them there. He had the contacts, the cell numbers, the cred and they’d be coming from a program that played an NBA brand of ball.

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If Nebraska AD Bill Moos gives Hoiberg that recruiting latitude — and there’s no reason to believe that he won’t — then at least that’s a start in building a program good enough to compete favorably in the Big Ten Conference. It’ll be a start in bringing what can be an up-tempo, three-point style of ball to Nebraska and the Big Ten.

Hoiberg’s last three Iowa State teams averaged 80, 83 and 80 points a game. It’s been two decades since Cornhusker fans have seen anything like that — since Danny Nee’s 1995-96 team averaged 80 points. No one averaged 80 this season in the Big Ten. 

That starts with recruiting, and if you’re still hung up on Hoiberg saying that he disliked that aspect of the college game — you shouldn’t be. He’ll bring a top-notch recruiter with him — someone like Matt Abdelmassih with him. Abdelmassih recruited for Hoiberg at Iowa State. Most recently, he’s been an assistant at St. John’s. He knows the recruiting landscape. He knows Hoiberg.

There’s a comfort level, and that’s important.

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So when’s the press conference?

Michigan State just might determine that.

Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at rpeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter at @RandyPete.

 

 

 

 

Source: Des Moines Register